President Trump gets glimpse of New York protesters

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WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Saturday, Dec. 2, about the Republican tax bill (all times Eastern Standard Time).

  • 12:00

Protesters made their voices heard in New York City as President Donald Trump visited for political fundraisers.

Outside his first event, several hundred protesters stood behind barricades along 42nd Street. His motorcade ducked into a side street so he saw some of the action but not most of it. Chants of “Donald Trump is going to jail” rang out.

Signs read: “Tax the rich, not working people” and “New York hates Trump.”

  • 11:15 a.m.

President Trump took a victory lap at the New York City fundraiser, praising the Senate’s passage of a sweeping tax overhaul.

The president noted that Republicans had enough support to pass the bill without needing Vice President Mike Pence. He said the fact that no Democrats voted for the bill would “cost them very big” in the next election.

President Trump was expected to raise $6 million during a series of political fundraisers in New York.

  • 10:30 a.m.

President Trump expressed thanks to Senate and House Republicans for their hard-fought victories on taxes. The Senate passed its legislation and now the chamber and the House must try to reconcile differences in their two versions. It’s shaping up to be the largest tax overhaul in three decades, and President Trump said he’d aim to sign it into law before Christmas.

The Senate bill gave most of its tax breaks to businesses and high-earners. Altogether, the vote was a big step toward giving President Trump his first major legislative triumph after months of false starts and frustration.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, shrugged off polls that found scant public enthusiasm for the measure. He said in an interview that it will prove its worth and get the country “growing again.”

  • 1:51 a.m.

The Senate passed the nearly $1.5 trillion Republican tax bill that’s historic in scope and an urgent political priority for President Trump and the Republican Party.

The vote was 51-49, largely along party lines. Not a single Democrat voted in favor of the legislation, which was crafted behind closed doors by Senate Republican leaders. Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, who called the growing debt a national security threat, joined Democrats in opposing the bill.

The measure must be reconciled with a version the House passed last month.

  • 1:35 a.m.

The Senate voted to eliminate a tax break for a politically-connected conservative college in Michigan.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, proposed the amendment to eliminate the tax break for Hillsdale College in southern Michigan. He noted that Hillsdale has connections to powerful Republicans, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Merkley said, “Isn’t that just the type of insider deal for the wealthy and well-connected that we should oppose?”

The Senate Republicans’ sweeping tax package would impose a new tax on investment income earned by some private universities and colleges.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, added a provision exempting certain colleges that don’t receive federal funds. Democrats said Hillsdale was the only college that would benefit.

Merkley’s amendment was eventually adopted.

  • 1:20 a.m.

The Senate gave a green light to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Republicans rejected an effort led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, to block drilling.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, pushed for oil and gas drilling in the refuge.

Opening the remote refuge to oil and gas drilling was a longtime Republican priority that most Democrats fiercely oppose.

The 19.6-million acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

  • 12:20 a.m.

The Senate adopted an amendment that would allow parents to use 529 college funds to pay private school tuition for students in kindergarten through high school.

Parents could also use the tax-exempt funds on home-schooling expenses.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, offered the amendment to Senate Republicans’ sweeping tax package. The vote was a 50-50 tie with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaker.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only Republicans who voted against it.

  • 8:20 p.m.

Democrats took to the Senate floor to attack a planned amendment to the tax bill that would give a break to a conservative college in Michigan.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-PA, acknowledged he’d sponsored the language and said Hillsdale College would benefit from it.

Sen. Toomey defended Hillsdale as “a wonderful institution” and said other schools might qualify for the tax break, too. His provision would shield schools that receive no federal aid from language in the bill that taxes the investment income of some colleges and universities.

Democrats said Toomey’s provision was written in a way that only Hillsdale would qualify for the reduction.

  • 8:00 p.m.

As the Senate neared the momentous vote on the massive Republican tax bill, Democrats mocked what they said is the late-provided, hefty text of the legislation in videos and tweets.

They displayed the nearly 500 printed pages with handwritten notes in the margins.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, tweeted, “No, I haven’t had time to read the 500-page #GOPTaxScam bill that we’re voting on tonight,” with a photo of her reading aloud from pages at her desk. “Couldn’t read it if I tried — and I did.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT said “one page literally has hand-scribbled policy changes on it that can’t be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better.”

  • 5:10 p.m.

Sen. Corker’s decision to vote against his party’s bill is not a surprise. He had expressed concerns that the measure would add more red ink to the government’s $20 trillion in accumulated debt. He said Friday he didn’t want to burden future generations.

Corker has broken openly with President Trump, questioning his stability and warning he might cause World War III.

Corker said he told Trump of his decision, and isn’t ruling out backing a compromise House-Senate tax bill.

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